It is April 2020 and, with a few exceptions, the artistic cycling bikes are worldwide standing still. Mike is reading an article about online competitions in darts. Dart does not interest him really, but the simple principle about how to conduct the competition: You film your dartboard and play, virtually at the same time, against your opponents, who are distributed over all over the globe.

This idea must be transferable to artistic cycling. Especially in the single disciplines, where there is no contact with other people (except for the trainers). The risk of infection is therefore almost zero. Mike discuss it with his father (who is a developer of an artistic cycling rating software) whether he believes such a contest to be realistic. However, since even at the end of April only very few athletes were allowed to train, the idea of an online cup remains into the background for the time being.

In mid-May, Mike receives a message from his friend Martin Schön: “Hi Mike, How are you? Today I came up with an idea. Could we organize an online artistic cycling competition? What do you think? Would it be possible? ” The idea was now definitive. The problem remained primarily in the scoring. The easiest solution:

  • each athlete streams on his Facebook page and ICWW shares this streaming.
  • Commissioners write their final result after each freestyle competition as a commentary under the Livestream video.

However, this seemed to Mike, in particular, not to be spectator-friendly. Fortunately, Mike’s father was able to develop a first version for online scoring in just 3 days. Now we could finally test. As an expert from a commissioner’s point of view, we could count on Andreas Maier (UCI commissioner, Commissar Trainer in Eastern Europe) for testing our idea.

The principle is simple: The athletes stream their freestyle live via Skype from the hall. The commissioners sit at home and rate based on the video. The scoring will be entered directly into the home computer and transmitted to the chief commissioner. Thus, the spectators have the scoring at their disposal as usual (live display is in Livestream visible).

After some improvements and especially after Mike learned a lot in terms of technical implementation, we were able to lead the first practical test on 8.6. Martin drove his program in the hall, Mike and Andreas evaluated. It worked, so we told ICWW about our idea.

Here we also met with a lot of advice. Problems like different hall floors, different transmission quality, etc. were not taken into consideration, after all, an online Cup is no official competition! The fun should be in the foreground for the athletes. Therefore, the goal should be to make the sport known, to attract new members or donations to different artistic cycling projects of the ICWW, and most importantly, to keep the sport alive. Who knows how long “Corona” will be prevailing over us?

On June 27th it was now the “Welcome to the 1st Online Kunstrad Cup”. Planned as a test, we were very positively surprised by the great popularity; 20 starters took part. Of course, there were still some difficulties or bad videos, but in the end, everyone was happy with a little more normalcy. Due to the success of the 1st Online Cup, the “ICWW International Artistic cycling Online Cup” was launched and on August 8th, 20 starters from 5 Nations fought for the day’s victory. Which was calculated by a multiplier factor.

In both competition blocks, more than 4000 people were reached on Facebook, more than 100 people watched, some of them simultaneously. We are already looking forward to the next Online Cup on August 30th with more than 50 participating starters and about 70 athletes. Of course, we are already also looking forward to real competitions! But who knows, maybe in a future without a pandemic there will still be online cups.

We would like to address a big thank you to:

  • Gracia Sotomayor for preparing the certificates
  • the Commissioners (Andreas Maier, Enrico Krien, Daniel Oberst, Veronika Kripnerova)
  • Nico Budavari and Stefan Born for the moderation
  • Kay Lauterbach for the extension of the scoring software
  • all future Commissioners and other responsible persons
  • athletes, trainer and sport assistants

And of course, ICWW for the distribution of the announcement, sharing in social media, etc…

Martin Schön & Mike Lauterbach

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